Clark Saturday’s North Routt Music Festival had a decidedly chill North Routt vibe as Jed Clampit started his set, with concert goers chatting, sipping beers, eating barbecue and lounging on blankets.
Several folks, who concert organizer Larry McCoy said call themselves “Jed heads,” moved up toward the stage, dancing and cheering Clampit on.
McCoy was expecting a sell-out crowd of 200 at the inaugural festival on the Elk River alongside the Glen Eden Resort in Clark. The event has evolved throughout the years from private concerts by blues guitarist Jimmy Thackery to last year’s Blues on the Elk River show to this year’s festival.
“I think it’s a good thing happening — a good evolution,” McCoy said.
Local classic rock band Blissful Mayhem played first, followed by Arkansas-based Clampit, a self-described “contemporary front porch musician,” and then Too Slim and the Taildraggers, a Seattle blues and country rock band.
The concert attracted Steamboat Springs residents, North Routt locals and even some from South Routt, McCoy said. Groups of people
came to see different bands, he said.
“You walk through the crowd, and there’s different cells of energy,” McCoy said, “and there are a lot of mixes of different people.”
Jerry and Mona Carlton, who live just north of Steamboat Springs Airport, made their way up Routt County Road 129 for the show. They were the first paying customers to arrive, Jerry Carlton said, entering the gates at 3:45 for the 4 p.m. show.
“I saw Jed about 23 years ago at the Glen Eden when I was up here skiing, and this is the first time I’ve seen him since then,” Jerry Carlton said.
He said he has a couple of Clampit cassette tapes at home and upgraded to a CD at Saturday’s show.
“It’s a trip down nostalgia lane for me,” Carlton said. “I was just a young man of 41 or 42.”
Mona Carlton, sitting with a blanket in the cooling evening, was experiencing her first Clampit show.
“It’s kind of relaxing before Father’s Day tomorrow,” she said. “Otherwise, we would have worked all day on the land.”
Jerry Carlton called the vibe “mellow” and said the North Routt festival was a nice change of pace from the more crowded Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series shows at Howelsen Hill.
He joked about the event being more appropriate for old folks. There was a mix of generations, however. Candice Jernegan was there with her sister and her children, 6-month-old Elisah and 3-year-old Liam. They were enjoying the “friends, music and family,” Candice Jernegan said.
McCoy, a North Routt resident who organized the show through his Southern Connection promotions company, said he thought changing the name to the North Routt Music Festival broadened the show’s appeal. He was happy to report that he expected to break even on the show.
McCoy wasn’t certain whether he’d organize a festival again next year, but he said with Saturday’s turnout, it was looking good.
“There’s a lot of people who are enjoying it, and that’s what matters the most."